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By Bill Shunas
When I first started writing Fraggin' the intent was to make fun (toss a frag grenade) of politicians or military personnel for doing things that were over the top offensive or just plain wrong. That became hard to do because the same people usually were the worst offenders. Like presidents and generals. So this column morphed into commentary about various issues of the day.
I bring this up because we have a public figure most in need of a virtual grenade—Kevin McCarthy. His career in the House, especially the last couple of years, has been most offensive. It's not just that his actions are wrong. It's that he doesn't care. Usually, these people give lip service on a particular issue when they know and we know that they know they're all playing a game. See Mitch McConnell. With McCarthy it's different. He doesn't even play the game because he doesn't care. He's a chameleon and doesn't give a damn who knows it. So he sucks up to the likes of Marjorie Taylor Green, not caring that her elevator doesn't reach the top floor. Then he releases the tapes of the January 6 insurrection to Tucker Carlson, who enjoys playing the part of an assassin. This is the chameleon at work, doing anything to delay the day that some form of democracy will come to this land.
McCarthy knows Carlson is a fake. Most people do. Still, the chameleon turns and gives up the January 6 tapes. Carlson sanitizes the crimes for his audience. The fascists stick together. In the midst of this, the insurrection gets treated as just another event on the day's news–-sanitized. No violence was shown in the edited footage McCarthy gave to Carlson. We are lucky that the fascists in this country have been so inept and less bloodthirsty. It is unfortunate that January 6 happened and encouraged lost individuals to sign up with fascist organizations. Who knows if McCarthy has sympathy with those who hope to bring fascism home? Does a chameleon have an ideology?
Someone else is making out well from the political split between red and blue in a different way—Mr. Joe Biden. That focuses discussion of his work on domestic policy. His Build Back Better is impressive for the way it seems to be helping many people. More are working and there is an improvement in wages. Of course, there are opponents of these policies, and that is where divisions and discussions are focused when it comes to today's politics.
Biden is positioning the US to be confrontational with China. In the many years Biden has been in Washington it is said that he has moved toward more progressive positions. On foreign policy, he must be remembering fondly the cold warriors he served with. Back then they had the Soviet Union to confront. For those who miss those days, we have established China as the new opponent. That's how we are positioning ourselves diplomatically and militarily.
So the Soviets are gone, and the Chinese are taking their place. China has been expanding, diplomatically and militarily. It is like a void being filled in terms of Asia policy and Cold War operations. Opposing China looks a lot like opposing the Soviet Union years ago. Same excuses, different day. We have to defend our allies. We want justice for the Uyghrs whose situation is horrifying but not our job except in the diplomatic world. And China is expanding its navy and building naval bases. Some of these bases are being built on artificially made islands. I wonder if any of these islands has a gulf called Tonkin?
I don't know if Cold War desires for confrontation are due to having some psychological need or the need for economic hegemony everywhere. Save me the talk about doing the right thing. Nations don't use morality as a guide to foreign policy. We're entering the age of Kevin McCarthy where the goal is to rule without conscience.
Bill Shunas is a Vietnam veteran, author, and long-time VVAW member.